Serum and tissue metallome of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Cancer Sci. 2024 May;115(5):1446-1458. doi: 10.1111/cas.16124. Epub 2024 Mar 4.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients have late presentation at the time of diagnosis and a poor prognosis. Metal dyshomeostasis is known to play a role in cancer progression. However, the blood and tissue metallome of PDAC patients has not been assessed. This study aimed to determine the levels of essential and toxic metals in the serum and pancreatic tissue from PDAC patients. Serum samples were obtained from PDAC patients before surgical resection. Tissue (tumor and adjacent normal pancreas) were obtained from the surgically resected specimen. Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis was performed to quantify the levels of 10 essential and 3 toxic metals in these samples. Statistical analysis was performed to identify dysregulated metals in PDAC and their role as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Significantly decreased serum levels of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, arsenic, and mercury and increased levels of molybdenum were shown to be associated with PDAC. There were significantly decreased levels of zinc, manganese and molybdenum, and increased levels of calcium and selenium in the pancreatic tumor tissue compared with the adjacent normal pancreas. Notably, lower serum levels of calcium, iron, and selenium, and higher levels of manganese, were significantly associated with a poor prognosis (i.e., overall survival) in PDAC patients. In conclusion, this is the first study to comprehensively assess the serum and tissue metallome of PDAC patients. It identified the association of metals with PDAC diagnosis and prognosis.

Keywords: diagnosis; essential metals; inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; prognosis; toxic metals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / metabolism
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / blood
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Magnesium / analysis
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metals / analysis
  • Metals / blood
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Molybdenum / blood
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Selenium / analysis
  • Selenium / blood
  • Selenium / metabolism
  • Zinc / analysis
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / metabolism

Grants and funding